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Have you ever walked along a beach and found a shoe? Have you ever stopped to look inside that shoe? What would you do if you found the shoe to contain a foot? Well that is exactly what has happened many times over in the past few years in British Columbia, Canada.

When I first heard the story I thought the same as you, YUCK. I pictured a bloody foot hanging out of a shoe. In fact the feet were in a state of decay, with nothing but the sock and bones remaining, held in because of the tight lacing of the sneaker.

At first only right feet were being found, and all in different sneakers. This lead to all sorts of speculation as to not only who the feet belonged too, but how they died. Why only right feet?

It should be pointed out that DNA cannot determine age of the victim or race.
At one point a cruel hoax was played and an animals foot was found in a shoe on Vancouver Island.   Other times raw meat was found stuffed in shoes on the beach, left as hoaxes.

Let us look at the discoveries.

  • August 20, 2007. A right foot found on Jedediah Island. Male.  Shoe size 12.
  • August 26, 2007. A right foot found on Gabriola Island. Male.  Shoe size 12.
  • February 8, 2008. A right foot found on Valdes Island. Male. *  Shoe size 11.
  • May 22, 2008. A right foot found on Kirkland Island. Female. **  Shoe size 7.
  • June 16, 2008. A left foot found on Westham Island. Male. Same person as above *.
  • August 1, 2008. A right foot found in Washington, USA.
  • November 11, 2008. A left foot found in the Fraser River. Female. Same person as above **.
  • October 28, 2009. A right foot found in Richmond, Male.
  • August 30, 2011.  A right foot and lower leg found in False Creek, Vancouver.
  • November 5, 2011.  A right foot found in Sasamat Lake, Male.

Two other right feet have been found in Washington, in 2010, both belonging to children, or small adults.

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Although investigators scoured missing persons reports and files, only three people been identified so far, the first belonged to a male who suffered from depression.   The third and fifth feet were of a 21 year old Surrey man.  The eigth belonging to a man from the Vancouver area.  Police have not eliminated all the missing persons files yet, and need more evidence. 

The woman’s feet may have been washed down the Fraser river, although this is unclear because the river is tidal in nature. Her shoes, New Balance sneakers, were manufactured in 1999, meaning her body could have been lost years ago.

Other shoes, such as the one on the first and third foot found, were manufactured in 2003. The first being a shoe mostly distributed in India.

The fact that it is only feet which have been found is not without scientific explanation. The sneakers would have protected the feet while other forces, including marine predators, devoured the rest of the body, eventually releasing the foot at the ankle joint. Their was no indication the feet were severed. The sneakers would have risen to the surface and floated until they were found or came ashore. Only one has been found in the USA, and may have drifted south from Canadian waters.

The area between Vancouver Island and the Mainland is occupied by many small islands and is a common area for cruise ships headed for Alaska. Vancouver itself being a major shipping port and home to many transient people.  Vancouver is known for its beauty as well as its drug trade, high rate of crime, and suicidal jumps from bridges.

It also must be noted that since the discovery of the first foot more people are taking notice of sneakers on the beach.  Until then, many people undoubtedly walked by considering the shoe as nothing more than garbage.

RCMP are encouraging people who have missing relatives to contact them, especially if they have photographs of their relatives showing what sneakers they might have been wearing at the time of their disappearance.

The most recent finding is of the right foot in a male size 12 Cougar hiking boot.  The boot was seen floating in Sasamat Lake, near Port Moody, on Friday, November 4 and washed ashore Saturday, November 5, 2011.  This is different than earlier findings in that it was found in a lake, rather than water way with ocean access.

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